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Coaching Tips

What does it mean to be a "tough" basketball player? How do you describe a player who is TOUGH? What is the true definition of toughness on the basketball court?

It's not just physical. Toughness has nothing to do with size, strength, or athleticism. Toughness is a skill!

A tough basketball player does all of the important (little things) that gives his team a much better chance to win games. A tough player ALWAYS has a good game whether he shoots well or not. It's possible to have a spectacular game without scoring many points. Tough players don't focus on points--they grade their own performance by how well they played defense and how they helped their teammates.

Tough players do ALL of the following:

1.Set good screens--put their belt buckle on someone. Good screens help teammates get open and force the defense to work harder and make mistakes.

2.Cut hard--tough players set their man up. They are constantly moving and changing speeds. The best players cut hard every time even when they know they won't be open--even if they didn't receive the ball the last time they were open.

3.Talk on defense--constantly communicating. Letting teammates know where you are and you are ready to help!

4.Jump to the ball--tough defenders are constantly moving and adjusting. They move while the ball is in flight. They are already in their man's bubble before he catches a pass. They make every pass, every dribble and every shot difficult.

5.Don't get screened--tough players have made a decision that they will not get screened. They refuse to be screened. They use their feet and get through every screen attempt.

6.Get their hands up--they discourage passes. They take away vision and get deflections by mirroring/tracing the ball. If your hands are up, the passer won't be able to see a momentary opening. This gives your teammates an extra second to recover.

7.Help--they the ball and see their man without hugging. They are jabby and bouncy. They are ready to blitz, close out or switch.

8.Get on the floor--floor burns and bruises are part of the tough player's uniform.

9.Close out properly--under control. Take away the drive and shot. Catch the 1st move. The best players close out taking away the players strong hand-force left.

10.Run the floor--(ROAR) rebound-outlet-and-run. This will get you or a teammate an easy basket and puts constant pressure on the defense.

11.Play hard--they don't pace themselves. They have to come out once in a while because they are exhausted.

12.Get to their teammates 1st--thay are the 1st to congratulate after a charge or any hustle play and the 1st to encourage after a missed free throw.

13.Take responsibility for teammates--tough players expect a lot from teammates. They make sure everyone knows what's going on. What time is practice? What are we wearing?

14.Take Charges--the best play in basketball.

15.Get in a stance--always in a defensive stance. Bouncy!

16.Make good passes--their passes don't get deflected. They don't throw passes that are too late or early. They don't throw passes that are too hard or too soft. Here's a good rule to remember--if your teammate doesn't catch the ball, it was a bad pass. A good pass is a pass that is caught!!

17.Focuses on defense--values his performance by how well he defended.

18.Takes and give criticism the right way--doesn't make excuses. Accepts responsibility! Wants to get better and expects to be challenged. Willing to challenge teammates by saying things their teammates might not want to hear, but need to hear.

19.Control body language--poker face. Show confidence! Never whine, complain or hang your head.

20.Are stong with the ball--catch with their feet in the air--square up--triple threat.

21.Finish traps/double teams--they don't foul and let the opponent off the hook. They force a turnover, steal or timeout.

22.Are alert--actively communicating with teammates making sure everyone is on the same page. They stop the ball. They protect the basket and the 3 point line.

23.Know that it's not their shot it's the teams shot--tough players don't take bad shots. They don't worry about getting "my" shots. They work for good shots and celebrate when "we" score.

24.Box out and try for every rebound--put a body on someone on every possession. They circle the wagons. They understand that defense is not complete until "we" have the possession. FFF find-fight-fetch.

25.Look teammates and coaches in the eye--if a coach or teammate is talking, it's important.

26.Move on to the next play--don't waste time or energy celebrating a good play or agonizing over a bad one. Get the next one!

27.Are hard to play against and easy to play with--make the opponents job extremely difficult and make your teammates job easier. How?

28.Make every game important--they don't categorize opponents. If we're playing, it's important. Every game is a championship game.

29.Work to get better every day--respond the same way whether they won or lost. They focus on getting better the next day in practice. They hate losing, but aren't shaken by a loss. They enjoy winning, but are NEVER satisfied.

When I'm twice as good as I am right now, I'll only be half as good as I want to be!

References

Stuff Good Players Should Know by Dick Devezio

Toughness in College Hoops by Jay Bilas ESPN.com

 

 

 

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